Low and declining mercury in arctic Russian rivers. Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Mercury (Hg) dynamics in the Arctic is receiving increasing attention, but further understanding is limited by a lack of studies in Russia, which encompasses the majority of the pan-Arctic watershed. This study reports Hg concentrations and trends in burbot (Lota lota) from the Lena and Mezen Rivers in the Russian Arctic, and assesses the extent to which they differ from those found in burbot in arctic rivers elsewhere. Mercury concentrations in burbot in the Lena and Mezen Rivers were found to be generally lower than in 23 other locations, most of which are in the Mackenzie River Basin (Canada). Mercury concentrations in burbot in the Lena and Mezen Rivers also were found to have been declining at an annual rate of 2.3% while they have been increasing in the Mackenzie River Basin at annual rates between 2.2 and 5.1% during roughly the same time period. These contrasting patterns in Hg in burbot across the pan-Arctic may be explained by geographic heterogeneity in controlling processes, including riverine particulate material loads, historically changing atmospheric inputs, postdepositional processes, and climate change impacts.

publication date

  • 2014